Interview With Author Molly McCluskey-Shipman

Intro/ What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Thanks for this opportunity! I’m Molly McCluskey-Shipman, children’s book author from Kansas City. I’ve written two books; Emma’s Dilemma (2015), a book about adoption/belonging and Festeva’s Holiday Cheer (2018) about a dog who does good deeds in the world.

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

My background is in community mental health and urban education. Hearing the experiences of people and our ever changing society inspires me to write books that make people laugh, think, and be inspired to positivity contribute.

How do you deal with creative block?

Ugh, writers block is a real thing that affects everyone at some point! When I encounter a block in creativity, I usually shift away from writing to another activity. Often, I’ll do something active, which seems to get me back on track.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

There are several factors that can compromise your book process. 1. Allowing yourself to become defeated when hearing “no” from publishers. It can take a lot of time to get a book published–keep a positive mindset and persevere. 2. Being close minded to feedback. The collaborative process is essential and a rewarding part of the creative process. Listen and be open to feedback while balancing your vision. 3. When the book is published, the real work begins! It may take time to develop a marketing strategy. Be proactive, take time, research, develop a plan, and ask for help when needed.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Balance your vision with being open minded. It’s a good idea to have a color palette in mind based on the genre and style of your book. I have a tendency to adhere to “less is more,” where the character takes center stage.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I’ve yet to encounter anyone who is excited for negative feedback. 🙂 Regardless, feedback can be an essential component to growth. I am always open to feedback (positive or negative) but may not necessarily change something based on opinion if I feel strongly about it.

How has your creation process improved over time?

In addition to children’s books, I’ve challenged myself to maintain a weekly blog. Writing inspiring text, along with visual content has been a welcomed challenge. It’s allowed me to venture out and expand my creativity.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The amount of time that it takes to match with a publisher can be disheartening and at some points exhausting. However, it just takes one “yes.” The collaboration process is fun for me; seeing how your project has grown into a finished product is astounding and beyond rewarding.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I strive to write books that make people laugh, think, and contemplate the importance of doing positive things in the world. Fortunately, this is very satisfying for me and hopefully the reader!

What role do emotions play in creativity?

I believe that emotions play a big role in the creative process. For me, I need to feel an attachment to the characters and storyline in order to move through the creative process. Writing a book is so personal, a piece of yourself that you’re unveiling to the world. Needless to say, vulnerability is a key part of the process as well.

What are your plans for future books?

I hope to continue writing children’s books and maintaining my blog! In the future, I hope to produce a board book with calming strategies for kids and families to practice together. I would love to do a mindset book as well. Working within urban education, I see first hand how important mindset is for grit, learning, and living your best life!

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself:

My daughter and I look like twins

There are several children at school who are sure that the first part of my last name is a cuss word (Shipman–I’m sure you can imagine)

This past year I ran a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, & 5K

Our dog’s name is Dingus….Yes, Dingus (can’t take credit, we adopted him from a rescue and kept the name) and yes it describes him quite well.

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